Island View: Nostalgia can be misplaced

Just how good were the good old days?
Just how good were the good old days?

No matter how old you are, it is always tempting to look back on how things used to be and wish for ‘simpler’ times.

I’ve spoken before of how I am part of the generation that did half its growing up in a time before affordable smartphones and ubiquitous social media, and the other half after these particular floodgates had been opened.

I can remember getting my first hand-me-down ‘brick’ mobile phone at the age of about 12 when responsive touch-screens were still mostly the realm of science fiction and phone batteries could run for days at a time, and being unbelievably excited about the possibilities opened to me.

Of course this was before I had even heard of wi-fi, so my communication was still limited to where I could get a signal in rural Shropshire.

My point here is that though I might fondly remember a time when I didn’t have the temptation to spend hours a week reading, gaming or speaking on a phone, the simple truth is that such developments have helped me keep in touch with friends across the world and do my job.

In a similar way, people in Rothesay often speak about the decline of the town and say we inhabit a more selfish society in general, wishing for the ‘good old days’.

While there may be some truth to this, I’ve heard horror stories of how gay people were criminalised for being themselves in this country, and how black, Jewish and Irish people and others were treated as second-class citizens not long ago.

While the situation now is far from ideal, I’m glad to live in a more equal, fairer society than the one that went before.

So while it’s comforting to look to the past sometimes, we have to remember to recognise the bad as well as the good.